Christian missions in the Old Testament

"They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." — Acts 17:11

Does the Old Testament (a.k.a. Hebrew Bible) have a missionary message?

drawing of a globeHarvest passages: 120 Old Testament verses relevant to world missions

Why is world missionary work important? We have a mission to fulfill: Biblical passages dealing with world evangelism

Here is a partial listing of Old Testament missionary scriptures — scriptures concerning missions — from the Hebrew Bible. Use these to encourage a clear missionary vision. Several passages have links to where they are cited on other pages of this website.

Some of these Bible v erses relating to missions would make great Faith Promise convention themes.

"We must choose this day whether we will hide our eyes from the need and close our ears to the call or whether we will tackle with new decisiveness, mixed with humility and devotion, the unchanging command of a faithful God who is still seeking." — Ralph Winter in Faithful in Christ Jesus: A mission reader

80 New Testament passages about world missions

Old Testament and missions

Is there a common thread?

Echoing throughout this list of Old Testament verses is that God's glory and name should be proclaimed among all the nations and peoples of the earth. That is evident in verses where it is mentioned that God created everything, and hence, all creation owes Him worship. The verses also highlight God's covenant with all life on earth and His plan to be known and glorified among the nations. Furthermore, the verses mention that Israel was to be a "kingdom of priests" and that all people on earth should know the name of the Lord. The Psalms repeatedly emphasize the message that God's glory and name should be declared among all nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun.

80 New Testament passages about world missions

Into whatever groups we divide humanity — races, nations, languages, cultures — it is clear that God loves all of them and wants people from all those groupings to be reconciled to Him.

Video: "Making disciples in all nations" (13 minutes)

In top-line blessings/bottom-line responsibilities categories used by Don Richardson and Bob Sjogren, many of the biblical passages on this page are of the bottom-line responsibility type.

Prayer: The mission of the church

"O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near. Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you.

"Bring the nations into your fold. Pour out your Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten the coming of your Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."

  — Book of Common Prayer (Anglican)

"Make known among the nations what He has done." — Psalm 105:1

1In the Bible, the word "nations" does not mean political entities like China, India, and the USA. Rather, it means people groups or societies in which people speak the same language, have the same culture and live in or have originated in the same area. "Nations" is synonymous with the plural word "peoples." In other words, nations in the Bible means all of the people groups of the world other than the people of Israel.

    -- compiled by Howard Culbertson,

PDF page of missions slogans, classic scripture passages and faces from the "crowd of witnesses"

"Throughout scripture, God made His passion known for the people of all nations. Right from the beginning, God was not just invested in the Hebrew people. He loves and longs for all nations." -- Louise S., Nazarene Bible College student

The barbarians become Christian

pointing rightIn the years 400-800 AD the Germanic tribes of central Europe turned to Christ in massive numbers. [ more ]

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